Since no one seemed to eagerly jump on the let’s take a break train, here’s my contribution to this week:
22 吹くからに 秋の草木の しをるれば むべ山風を あらしといふらむ (文屋康秀)
While it is unknown when 文屋康秀（ふんやのはすひで）was born or when he died, it is believed that he lived in the second half of the 9th century. In fact, very little is really known and proved about his life.
He was counted among the Six Immortals of Poetry, as well as the Thirty Six Immortals. Six of his poems are part of the Imperial Anthologies, five in the Kokinshuu, and one in Goshuui Wakashuu.
The preface of the Kokinshuu describes him to be “[using his words] skillfully, but [they] do not match the content. His poetry is like a merchant dressed up in elegant clothes.”
He is also said to have had a relationship with Ono no Komachi (poem 9).
His son ふんやのあさひさ wrote poem 37.
I’m going to dump this into Content, although I’m not quite sure if it wouldn’t be happier living in the Grammar/Devices section. Anyway, the central idea of the poem is that when you take the kanji for wind 風 and the Kanji for mountain 山, combined into one neat little kanji, it becomes storm 嵐. If they kanji were separate, but read vertically in the same order as they sit in 嵐 we would get 山風（やまかぜ）, the word still centred around wind, aka could still be interpreted as a storm.
What I personally find most interesting in this poem is the fact that the poet talks about the kanji/radical composition of the kanji for ‘storm’ (嵐), but in the original version of the poem (which I believe sits at the bottom on the page next to the poet bio) he decided to omit said kanji in favour of its hiragana version. あらす or, in this case あらし, also means ‘to ravage’ or ‘to destroy’, ‘ravaging’ or ‘destroying’. Therefore, あらし becomes Kakekotoba, even though the poem centres around its kanji composition.
During the Six Dynasties period (220-589) kanji and word games were quite popular in China. This shifted over to Japan through the authoritative anthology of Chinese Literature, the Wenxuan (or Monzen in Japanese), which was required reading for Japanese aristocracy during the Heian period. However, it had lost its importance and appeal by the time the Hyakunin Isshu was curated. By that point, the expectation was for a poet to be serious, rather than witty and playful, which might be the reason this poem is not counted among the most popular ones.